NORTH MANCHESTER — Plymouth alum Kara Gilley is hoping an experience she had last month leads to benefits in her post-collegiate pursuits.
Gilley, along with fellow Manchester University senior Eric Courter represented her school at the NCAA’s Career in Sports Forum from June 8 to 11 at the Downtown Marriott in Indianapolis. They were among nearly 300 student-athletes selected for invitation to the forum by a committee made up of administrators from member institutions, conference offices and affiliate member organizations.
The event focused on assisting student-athletes with making successful transitions from competition to their future professions in intercollegiate athletics, according to the NCAA.org web site.
“So many people at (the Career in Sports Forum) were athletes who were doing such amazing internships and other volunteer experiences related to their fields,” Gilley, a player on the Spartans’ women’s tennis squad, said. “It made me want to start looking for ways I can reach that caliber of experience.”
“It was neat to see so many different athletes there from shot put throwers to soccer players and almost everything in between,” Courter, a player on the MU football team, said. “That common feel made it easy to communicate and relate with anyone.”
The forum brought sports professionals together to discuss their career paths and to present a variety of topics ranging from nontraditional careers in athletics to best practices in athletics administration, personal and professional branding and human resource hiring processes. There were also team sessions where student-athletes were divided into groups to discuss the issues and take leadership roles among their peers.
“We had a day in which we worked with values and personal mission goals and how that can help us with an interview or how to incorporate those into working a job in athletics,” she said. “We spent a day filled with interviews and proper ways to conduct ourselves in interviews, not only with professionals in NCAA athletics but also our peers who can at times be the hardest ones to communicate with. We also spent some time talking about our next steps.
“There were some many speakers and individuals we had the chance to network with, too,” she added.
Courter pointed to a speech from NCAA president Dr. Mark Emmert as one of his highlights.
“He talked about the chain in athletics from being a student-athlete to an athletic director on a campus,” he said. “I had never thought about how many people were involved in that process. It was interesting to think about.”